Learner drivers: What does the law say about tractors?

The topic of learner drivers (in cars) needing to be accompanied by qualified drivers has been prominent in the national media lately. We were curious to find out if there is a clear position with regard to tractors.

This is pertinent, given that many modern tractors are now fitted with second seats (albeit smaller, fold-away seats in many instances).

It prompted us to ask the Road Safety Authority (RSA) the following:

Question: Is a person driving an agricultural tractor with either a category B or W learner permit required to be accompanied by a qualified person in the category, if the tractor is not fitted with a second seat (i.e. a passenger or ‘buddy’ seat)?

Answer: A person driving an agricultural tractor with either a category B or W learner permit is not required to be accompanied by a qualified person in the category.

Image source: Justin Roberts

We also posed this conundrum:

Question: Is a person driving an agricultural tractor with either a category B or W learner permit required to be accompanied by a qualified person in the category, if the tractor is fitted with a second seat (i.e. a passenger or ‘buddy’ seat)?

Answer: If you are a learner in the work vehicle / land tractor category, you are not allowed to carry a passenger unless the passenger is a qualified driver and the vehicle is constructed or adapted to carry a passenger.

Meanwhile, in a related topic, the Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) also published some timely questions and answers, in a bid to clear up lingering confusion (regarding the use of L and/or N plates).

L-plate and N-plate questions and answers for tractor drivers:

Question 1: If you hold a category W learner permit, are you required to display L plates when driving a tractor and trailer?

Answer 1: You are not required to display L plates if you hold a category W learner permit. However, L plates are required for a range of other licence categories.

 

Question 2: If you already hold a category W and B (full) licence and you are driving a tractor with a trailer/implement attached that displays an L or N plate from a previous driver, are you considered to be breaking the law for displaying either of these signs? If so, what is the fine?

Answer 2: You are not breaking the law. There are no fines relating to such activities.

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